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200 Jobs To Be Eliminated At Knightdale's Square D Plant

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KNIGHTDALE, N.C. — Square D/Schneider Electric officials announced Wednesday that they will move the majority of its manufacturing out of its Knightdale facility and primarily into the company's facilities in Monterrey, Mexico.

The Knightdale facility, located at 8001 Highway 64 East, currently employs 627 people. Approximately 200 salaried and hourly jobs will be eliminated as a result of the decision.

The moves are expected to begin in January 2003 and end in December 2003. The company will provide any employees affected by the decision with full assistance during the transition.

Officials said the company has no plans to close the facility. One product line -- a line of adjustable frequency drives that employs approximately 20 people -- will remain in the facility. They also said the building will remain a primary location for marketing, engineering, information services and other functions.

Square D also has plants in Asheville and Monroe, but they will not be affected by the layoffs.

Jeff Brooks, human resources manager for the facility, said the decision to lay off a third of its workforce was a matter of economics.

"We talked to them about the business and the need to keep costs down and they understand that our competitors are reducing their costs and unfortunately, the company had to make a decision to eliminate one of its plants," he said.

"Decisions such as this are never easy," said Chris Richardson, president and CEO of the North American Division of Schneider Electric. "This decision has nothing to do with the results or the work of our people in Raleigh. It has been excellent and they have truly done all the right things for our business. We compete in an increasingly competitive global marketplace and our economy in North America continues to be a difficult and challenging one. We must continually evaluate all of our operations and do what's required to improve our performance and remain competitive."

The Knightdale facility, built in 1972, manufactures industrial control products, serving commercial, industrial and original equipment manufacturing customers throughout North America.


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